As you recall in the last blog posting on Getting Back to Basics, we discussed Gagne’s ISD model and focused on the first event, Gaining the Learner’s Attention. There are some concrete examples in that posting of how you can begin your courses in this way. Now, let’s focus on the second event, Informing the Learner of the Learning Objectives.

Gagne’s 9 events are:


Most of us can admit that we have been guilty of listing learning objectives as bullet points at the beginning of a course. After all, these are very important to us as instructional designers as it is a critical planning step to ensure a learner’s behavior changes as a result of taking the course. While this is true for us, our learners do not particularly care about a list of objectives. They want to know what they are going to learn but don’t necessarily care what we have determined as the learning objectives of the course. If we present them a list of objectives, we will more than likely lose them right away. In fact, I can say that I’m not interested when I’m presented with the learning objectives at the beginning of a course. So, how can we tell the learners what they are going to learn or be able to do after taking the course without boring them with a list of objectives?

QUICK ACTION: Think about a main overarching objective that summarizes all of the objectives you’ve created. Here are some examples.

  1. A supervisory course to teach a learner how to hire the right employees.


  1. Select the appropriate qualities for an individual to possess for the open position.
  2. Compose effective, valuable and legal interview questions.
  3. Practice objective tactics for candidate selection.

Main Overarching Objective: Select a successful candidate to fill a job opening by:

QUICK ACTION: After you determine an overarching objective, then figure out how to personalize the goal to the leaner.

Below are some examples of how you can personalize the overarching goal without having to list all of the objectives you have defined as an instructional designer.

  1. A compliance course for someone new to compliance.


Main overarching objective: Get off to a successful start in your new compliance role by:

Compliance2 These are just a couple of examples of how you can inform your learner the goal of the course without having to list all of the objectives out as bullets points in your e-learning courses. Remember, your learner wants to know what they are going to learn, but are not necessarily interested in the objectives. How do you inform the learner of your course goals? Share with TLS Learning your examples!

Look for the next blog on what the third event in Gagne’s model, Stimulating Recall of Prior Learning, is all about and how you can implement this event in your courses.